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Family with generational devotion to Israel making trip to donate, dedicate ambulance

By Madison Smith

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    ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — Community members giving back is not uncommon, especially in western North Carolina, but 2 local men are taking it 6,295 miles farther.

On Wednesday, Nov. 30, News 13 spoke with Trinity Baptist Church Pastor Winston Parrish as he was on his way to Israel with his grandfather.

It’s a trip that the Parrish-Sexton family has taken 56 other times. And though this year, with a significant rise in deadly terrorism, has markedly been the deadliest for Israelis since 2015, that violence is not deterring the families from once again making a trip to this country to which they have a deep connection.

But this particular journey to Israel is special because on Dec. 2, the Parrishes and Sextons, along with 95 others from around the U.S., will be dedicating an ambulance to the country.

Family with generational devotion to Israel making trip to donate, dedicate ambulance

The ambulance has been purchased and will be dedicated to Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s national emergency medical services, which is the first on the scene to terrorist attacks.

And it’s not just this ambulance they have provided.

The family has collectively donated many other medical services to the Israeli people.

A former first responder himself, Parrish shared why he feels this mission is important now.

“I have a history in emergency medicine there in Buncombe County. I was a firefighter first, a paramedic and working for the 911 dispatch center, so that’s close to my heart,” Parrish told News 13 on Wednesday, Nov. 30. “The (Israeli) people are close to my heart, and there was already a connection there.” This cause that has become so near and dear to their hearts began with Parrish’s great-grandfather, who founded Trinity Baptist Church.

In 1951, great-grandpa Sexton landed on the shores of Israel on a boat filled with holocaust survivors as one of only three non-Jewish people to make the trip. He instantly fell in love with the country and its people.

Parrish says that love continues to be passed down through their family.

After returning from this trip, they will already be planning another. Next time, it will be a trip through the country to teach people the history of the land. He encourages anybody interested — or even with more questions on “why” — to reach out.

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